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Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food
By Randall Putala © 2008
Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. www.grocerysavings.us Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha
Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs.Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food. Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 . Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs. Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier.
concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. No freebies or add-ons. it’s not really as absurd as you might think. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts. I'm buying from you". I won't accept them. Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. whether it is competitive or not. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot. "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price. Without blinking an eyelash now. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. The salesman looks stunned. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. He says to the salesman. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . And based on the way most people view food shopping. of course you're correct. he replies.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. All this.
It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. and you’ll get the answer immediately. like clockwork. and I really can show you how to do it. If so. I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% . and happy savings! 5 . Read. I'm being facetious. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. "I'm not poor!" they insist.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life.receipts. if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. as if they couldn't use an extra $1. But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better". enjoy. They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. you probably don't need to clip coupons. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons. And at the end of the day. and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month. perhaps. week in and week out. You see. Sure.000 or $50. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills. that you’re NOT that guy. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. it's pretty much a one-time investment. or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance.000 or more per year.
6 . I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points. just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track.Randall Putala Author P.S. If you find yourself drifting back into old habits. refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime.
let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. AND I'M FRUGAL. and pick the cheapest one. but it's just not possible with my schedule.Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. I'm too busy. Time is not as important to me as saving money. LET ME COMPARE. or position on the shelf ). I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 . I'M CHOOSY. OUT OF MY WAY. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf. 3. I'M IN A HURRY. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. I'd like to save money. 4. advertising campaign. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. I'M IN A HURRY. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries. I'M LOST. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. 2. 5. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it. I'll be out of here in no time. highest price. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. I've got a family to feed. I'M IN A HURRY. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. AND I'M CHOOSY.
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. 8 . The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. It's that simple. It’s very important. Now. Here. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. Change your mindset. and you will lower your food costs. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain. because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it. So do it.eating better and healthier food than theirs. Change your mindset. It's that simple. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. and you'll lower your food costs. please read it again.
b. Everyone is different. High grocery expenses. "there's nothing to eat". or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. Conversely. 3. A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). Uneaten goods. 4. Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 .Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. you may not be making smart choices for your family. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. and everyone likes different things from time to time. freezer. or pantry months after the fact. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase. If this is the case. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. You have items that you never seem to run out of. c. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. Insufficient food supply. This is also known as spending too much on not enough. d. Keep your receipts for one month. Unhappy campers.
It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame. 5.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. You're cooking the wrong stuff. Binge snacking. 7. and your budget will 10 . You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. so you did. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. You're cooking too much food. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them. Excessive leftovers. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. (More on this subject later in the book. Sticker shock. Steer yourself back to the basics. item by item. but few people notice it. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. keep reading. It just looked good at the time. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. so you put it in your cart. But something made you want to take that action. 6. The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. b. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. Your cooking proportions are too large.
11 . pre-cooked. it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food. prebagged. or find a way to buy more for less. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN. The second choice may seem a little painful at first. Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. expensive meals. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed. and even the signs in the grocery store. you'll all be happier and healthier.thank you for it. BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch. the print ads in your magazines.
Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.
b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!
3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan
as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. 8 minutes. Wet the potato with running water iii. If you need more time. Rest assured. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. START SMALL. For example. Take really. If you are this type of shopper. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned. etc. Cook for 5 minutes on high. If this works. write down the steps: i. REALLY. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. try cooking 2 potatoes at once. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. and write down notes for this. 4. like "3 meat items". you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. b. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . "5 breakfast items". writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. closely followed by completion of your assigned task. until you get it absolutely right. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. Make a simple list by category. small steps to organize your shopping trips. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv.these side dishes carefully. really. clip them out and put them in an envelope. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. all is not lost. that will turn out perfectly. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. etc. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. change it to 7 minutes. I'M LOST. Next. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. As you master each new step. and stop there. you may a problem. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. great. Work on learning to cook individual items really well. Keep it simple. though. Containment is the key word here.
000 – $3. book. and then doing those same things next time you cook. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. Get cheap.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . 5. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. $60. the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop. and stay cheap. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. It just takes practice to know what works. I WANT THE BEST STUFF.500 – $3.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2. down. down. chock full of the finest foods in the store. while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. down. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total. The guy in line behind you. AND I'M CHEAP. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food.000 raise at work. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'. Some items will be necessities. you CAN do better if you just review your options. I'M IN A HURRY. you're ready for the master class.500 or more per year on groceries.
It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. and stay cheap. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. and you won't always have a coupon for it. but you can rely on your own notes. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap. Learn what works for you. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. 18 . BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. Some items will be necessities.with better recipes. If you plan these side dishes carefully. you CAN do better if you just review your options. is because cooking is really very simple. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts. The reason it looks so effortless to them. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. To save money. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes.
If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. Make yourself accept it. Once you can visualize the change you want. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. Step 4 – Reflect. seek professional counseling. and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again.. Step 5 – Affirm.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". Write down how they make you feel. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while. What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy. Seriously. If you're currently paying $200 per week. you tend to get what you've always gotten. and your weight. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries. Step 2 – Believe. Step 6 – Reconsider. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. visualize yourself paying $100. your mental attitude.. Step 3 – Be Flexible. It can be a big help. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . If you still don’t understand the connection.) Step 1 – Acknowledge. If you do what you've always done. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries. and what they are doing to your health. Stand by this realization. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs. you've got to be prepared to try new things. Change is all about visualization at this early stage.
Step 7 – Be Humble.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. your mind may think of it as a reward. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream. for the NEW me. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. There's a lot for you to learn about food. “STOP!” Reset your mind. 20 . tofu instead of cheese. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter. you must mentally shout out. your refrigerator and your freezer.regarding your shopping habits. or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections. put the guilty items back on the shelf. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not. Step 10 – Reject. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. and enter a new instruction. You may be thinking. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. Step 8 – Record. buy it. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family. Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. I’ve always been able to afford it. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. and if you like it – keep buying it. Now comes the fun part. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart. items that cost too much. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. and 'do the aisle again.” Find a substitute. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. “I’ve always eaten this. Humilty is the stepstone of success. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. turn around. review the items that you picked up in that aisle.' Step 11 – Baby Steps. Take it slow.
and put it in a bank savings account immediately. If you're very diligent. get 'cash back' equal to that amount.Step 12 – Rejoice. You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. 21 . Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs. If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year.
You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. She's not exactly poor… Smart. They are always looking for ways to save. Love them or hate them. yes – but not poor. 23 . even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons. MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. and more will be given to you over time. In fact. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. it doesn't matter. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. and it's your lucky day. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons.Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. I feel disappointed. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. save. When I go shopping. if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. Would you turn it down.
and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion.000 or $3. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour.! 24 . remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time. You probably deserve a break. a new hot tub. Benjamin Franklin said it. And now his picture is on the $100 bill. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks. so take one. not me. consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not.. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. let alone shopping for yourself.. I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want.000 per year. and you really do work every moment of every day. and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. When you arrive at this conclusion. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2. using coupons is a waste of time. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. "A penny saved is a penny earned".. let alone using coupons. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE.. you're very lucky. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping. money to blow on a super vacation.
Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due. That is a fact. Instead. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries. you write a check for $75. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. and it really does stay in your bank account. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. View it however you like. If you use coupons effectively.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. you're written in that creditor's shylock book. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. no” you might say. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. Trust me. Yes. even if you use coupons. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. It's not rocket science. along with the other techniques described in this book. That's real money. Some are also for 25 . REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family.” Okay. “I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. “Oh. great.
Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time. If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget. Then.. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these. You've been buying your favorites your whole life.. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons. and don't use coupons. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved. But guess what? If you don't want it. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. you probably don't need to use coupons. need and use every day. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. Smart money management never goes out of style.products that are overpriced.. However. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy. or don't like it. don't need it.. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year.
etc. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. They want people to try their products. higher-priced items. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. and become repeat customers.compound into larger debt over time. they wouldn't issue the coupons. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. regardless of who redeems them. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. In fact. Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. the more products they sell. super-premium items. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items. and that can be very hard to overcome. an affluent shopper. using their coupon to buy their product. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry. Coupons help spur the economy. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . enjoy the products. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. They must replenish the sold product. not theirs. the higher the coupon redemption rate.
the next time.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. they're actually very smart. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. No company would incur the massive expense of testing. They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable..) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. REALITY: Again. because they believe that consumers will like them. This is the manufacturer's goal. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy. And when you go to buy the product again. etc. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. So guess what: once you try the product. They develop new lines of products. and on and on for years. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. packaging. new combinations. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. new flavors. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar.
you've just lost your vote. and save some for your own use. Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5. 2. and couponing is a step in the right direction. you need to save more money.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . you're right: you don't need to save money. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan. and a real waste of time. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money. At least not the same tomorrow as today.000 per year. it can be fun. or simply don't care about money. home furnishings. electronics. 3. give some to charity. Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. 4. Case closed. $2. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. Or.000. etc. Save your pennies. you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5. nickels. REALITY: If you do it right. cars. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today. You’ll feel better about it. Examples: 1. couponing is not for you. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow. if you have some other method to earn $1.? If not. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do. Do you have the very latest clothing. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus. If you are independently wealthy.000 per year.MYTH 9: I make a good living.
But the ends justify the means. Conversely. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. couponing takes a little effort. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. You've been buying your favorites your whole life.you enjoy . consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. you should pursue it. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. And for you. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can.. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. because that is what made them rich. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life.. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 . Yes. Yes. you're very lucky. If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style. Save money on groceries. it's less work for them than clipping your lawn.
and that can be very hard to overcome. you'll feel better. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger.. And for you. If you really don't need to save money.larger debt over time. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies. They don’t worry about overcharging you. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. They want you in their store. with the best items in their store. they're actually very. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. give it to a real charity. and so will they. you probably won’t make the same income that you make today. They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. very smart. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more.. 31 . You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life. in fact.
Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. STRATEGY. you WILL save money. This is the actual implementation of the plan. up to 99¢.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. and the many rules. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season. Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. up to 50¢. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield. etc. (e. then WORK YOUR PLAN. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store. TACTICS. Live them. 3. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. 1. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store. up to 60¢. NEVER try to use an expired coupon. b.g. 33 . Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. i. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption. leave immediately and find a store that does.e. This is the creation of a PLAN. 20 coupon maximum per visit). there are two parts to any battle plan: a. 2. Learn them. They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked. If not.
buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10. Plus. the scanner will catch it instantly. If your coupon is expired. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. flavors and variations of the product. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 . BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail. They have real value. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. especially to the grocer who accepts them. HYPER VALUES.) 6. even low-value coupons. or must you buy 2?) 5. CLIP EVERYTHING. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes.g. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8.4. e. 7. Most coupons are brand specific. (can you buy only 1. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud. Coupons are negotiable documents. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for.
the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off. From that point on.you go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager. So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response.) As I stated above.. If they accept a coupon that is expired. more and more consumers redeem the coupons. Over the next few weeks. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up.. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed. So you are really attempting to steal from the store. At some point near the middle of the promotion. they have no chance of getting credit for it. they start to appear in stores. But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it.) The expiration date can actually work in your favor. 35 . Do it once too often. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon.
In areas with only marginal competition. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. If you were a product manager at the food company. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. especially senior citizens and families with children. This is when many products are put on special. Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. In areas with high competition. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. or offered as a 'BOGO'. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. 36 . avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value.
Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons. the net savings effect is multiplied. Doubling value of the coupon. although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. This will take a little practice.59 $2. b. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference.29 on sale $1. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter. Again. If you don't. BEFORE you shop there. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in. More about this later. The most common level you will find is 50¢.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter. Store sale.19 As you can see. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. but it will pay off big 37 . which could net out a greater discount for you.2. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled. It’s true. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. When you view the face value of your store coupons. IF the store has the item on sale. You may want to use a lower-value coupon.55 $1. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in. But combined with the sale price. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A.00 $.
Alternatively. the lower the coupon value. 38 . Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1. The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date. This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations. This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1. EXPIRATION DATE. OVERSTOCK. BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. the greater the net discount.time in terms of savings. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. Sometimes. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them. 2.
do not pass up the BOGO deal. If you were going to buy the item anyway. (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. If you honestly don't need two of an item. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. LOSS LEADER. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. Many times they are store-specific. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. It is your right to know.3. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. However. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. they can buy just one and pay half the price. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . someone can use the second item. You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. By advertising a number of BOGO deals. 4. and they'll be glad to get it. This is not always the case.
00.00. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. 50¢ off on one box purchase. Buy one at $3. $1. Box. You have now saved $2. regular price $3. $2.50. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1.50. You have now saved $2. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price. 21 oz. they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0.75 for one box of cereal. To keep senior customers happy.50. 21 oz. regular price $3.75. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal. for a grand total savings of $4.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal. 50¢ off on one box purchase. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids.50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal. Box. get one free. And 40 .50 for two boxes of cereal. Store doubles the coupon value to $1.25 each.25 per box of cereal.
69 $1. a feeling of euphoria and power. After all. OR. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. You might like the brands you haven't tried. which will typically show each brand they manufacture. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. and not clip it. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter.29 50¢ $1. over and over again. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands. some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1. Plus. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. If you follow my techniques for regular. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown. and they deserve the sale it generates. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter. For example. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution. Be doubly careful about checking 41 .29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. it's the thrill of the hunt. systematic couponing. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE. But as you can see in our example. not Brand B or Brand C.
you'd pay about $7. sign placement. They're great for finicky eaters. or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4. The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. SIGNS LIE. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5. only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. and sign wording. 42 . You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product. There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon. The industry calls these "line extensions". "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal.00 extra for the same amount of meat. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation. If you picked up two of the non-sale variation.50 per package).99 per individual package.99 for two (net cost $2. For example. The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners. because they often won't scan properly. "Singles". All four are frozen dinners.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons. I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos". Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs. If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo. Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert.
i. The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. Check the dates first.00 on 2". I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). but it's not on sale now. If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart. The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. All you can do is to be more careful in the future. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. But you will only be charged for one item. they're not so certain.e. When an item rings up wrong. I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. "Save $1." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. because you must buy two of them.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. FLYERS LIE. And once you've left the store. there is nothing you can do about it. don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. believe what you verify before you check out. All of a sudden. SALES CLERKS LIE. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. especially when you know you're right. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. Do I need two of this item. "that item was on sale last week. 43 . so you will have technically purchased two. So don't believe what you see. and the coupon will be authorized.
It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz. in the example above. For example. the store's 44 . You have to understand that there are over 10. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only. bottle. So you must spend $7.00). It may require a matching purchase. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors. take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask. One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required. you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies. If in doubt. bottle. In most cases. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. be sure to read the fine print.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor. and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz. bottle only. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk".35). box of our cereal. bottle. The same rule applies to flavors. Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3. In other words. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz.50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4. and paying the regular price for your milk. You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product.000 items in the typical grocery store. that is the rule.
It just doesn't get any better than this. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal. they're marked down to 50¢. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz. Instead of 99¢. You never know until you try. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz.50 for the milk. IT MUST BE ON SALE. typically on a 45 . Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time. BONUS BUYS. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. You'll now be paying $4.00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal. you are now getting the peaches for FREE. they offer them at 50% off.70 in doubled value for these coupons. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. IF THERE'S NO SIGN. use it. The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf.computer will not consider these to be competing coupons.33 per box. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line. You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit. you could get $1. or approximately $1.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer. plus the cashier will take off the $1.00. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. In most cases.
Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.
BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon
for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)
Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats
You should simply spend the extra $30.e.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i. the system won't work.e. If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money. Yes.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons. $40. reading a magazine or talking on the phone. I'm 50 . i. $5. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV.
It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. a hobby. and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. Dairy. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. When you have the time. as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. I use a small wicker basket. It's like anything else – a diet. it can be embarrassing. Then. obviously don't clip that coupon. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads.being sarcastic. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. if you do it knowingly. Canned Goods. it can actually be illegal. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. When it's time to do my sorting. I find that it helps to set a specific time. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 . go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using. It's bad form. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. and. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons.
For example. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. when I'm done. Add in your drive time home. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. so I tend to focus on those most of all. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes. meats. and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. Of course. bread & cereal is always top right. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. It's a good thought. If you do this. 60. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh.& Store Discount categories. lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. this doesn't 52 . and throw away my pile of expired coupons. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. even 90 minutes. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. baked goods. Then. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. Of course. etc. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first. Remember. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. Do it the same way each week. it’s just mentally easier. i. If you follow the expert's advice. etc.e. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it. you can develop your own routine. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. and easier to stick to. and do it all at once.. they could be out of refrigeration for 45. I put the new coupons in the envelopes.
Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off. POCKET. With your dollar off.00 off. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'.99. Save the bread. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. SCAN. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables. meat and frozen foods for last. your net cost of buying it will be $1. and that's the place to start shopping first. i. right? WRONG! In this case. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A.00 off coupon.99.49. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place. and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off. you will find that 53 . 3. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter. $1. It takes a little discipline. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start. Plus. And chances are. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time.49. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success. When you have an appealing coupon. As an even better value proposition. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. MATCH. dairy products.e. 2. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. 4. and they'll arrive home in much better condition. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon. you'll pay $2.apply to produce. because Brand B is on sale for $2.
the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. You'll find that in most stores. Yes. But when they're cooked and on your table. they have a great food products section. and used the generic-brand labels. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. I know. they typically won't know the difference. try and run a taste-test contest with your family. The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. REVIEW. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. Most people are reactive shoppers. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). and serve them up in identical dishes. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. Yes. they don't shut down the production line. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand. which go for about three times the cost of generic. folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. Buy two cans of an identical item. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. Cook both items. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. I can assure you. I prefer the 'baby' peas. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. And frankly. They change the labels! If you doubt this. At my local dollar store.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. They carry lots of 54 .
etc. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories. kitchen select soup. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. When you taste the sauce. chunky soup. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. as well as the expiration date. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. home-style soup. MATCH. flavor. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination.. some of them will be downright awful. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. for example. Most of the biggest. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. By this. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. but it's actually very important.condiments and sauces. In fact. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. it tastes just like the leading brand. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product. But if you try them. POCKET. One top brand sells regular soup. Take soup. POCKET the coupon. size. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination. This may seem like a really dumb step. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. Last but not the least. Check the brand name. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. but in some cases it is. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands.
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. Again. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use. If you do things the same way each week. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption. I use my left pocket. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket. but that's just a personal preference. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. During the course of my shopping trip. they won't be redeemed.when you are buying your groceries. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. Create your own system or use mine. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . Just make sure you have a true system. the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. if I find that I have an expired coupon. on every shopping trip. but now it's gone. you can't REDEEM them. and putting them all in one safe secure place. And it WILL add up over time. You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. and follow it like clockwork. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. Again. the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. you will systematically save money.
Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . similarly. BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money.. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice. If you are astute and willing to do a little testing. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s). BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system. calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. In other words. BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match.. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. Do things the same way every time. once you leave the store. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget. and you'll get better at them day after day. buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly. Remember.be paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register.
It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons. Coupon Litmus Test'.) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. and one by a food manufacturer. and for shock value. I don’t waste REAL money.S. (Feels good. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse. too. Step 5. insert the dollar bill into the shredder. and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis. Do not actually implement this test.* (Hey wait.S.Chapter 8: The Currency vs.. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder.!) Step 3. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. people! 59 . Now.Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Mint. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. Step 1. Okay. that’s REAL money we’re talking about. You may think you're not a candidate to save money.. Step 4. Wake up and smell the mocha java. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption. chances are there is one somewhere in your office. Step 2. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. *NOTE: Destruction of U. try taking the 'Currency vs. Locate a paper shredder. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores.00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries. Turn the shredder on. The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U. currency is illegal.
Then. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic.59 for it. or you can revel in the ones that you caught. If this is your situation. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip. It's all just part of the process. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket. 60 . The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. you're throwing away cash.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. When you think you're getting a $3. I sometimes get in a hurry. and to be perfectly honest with you. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times. I only purge my coupons about once every month or so. Some people say. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. store sells single item for half the price. coupon in hand. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons.
All of these items feature a barcode. the club member's price. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club. Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. You must join every club. When you go to check out. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. 2. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. 3. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. Often. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. SHOP. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. In most stores.Chapter 9: Clubs. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. Here's how these clubs work: 1. with a price. and B. JOIN. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. SCAN. the regular price. You join the club. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. GET ANALYZED. As any astute shopper knows. 4. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best. They will typically show two prices: A.
when the normal price of a single item is $2.e. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way. let's say that your household income is between $75. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate.000. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. i. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold. You are a powerhouse consumer. This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers. For example. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level. But as a member of a specific demographic group. Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay.000 and $80. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 . "Big Brother" is alive and well.19. Of course. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product.99'. so they make the most money off of you. '2 for $3. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices.information is not extremely valuable by itself. The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store.
although they will. they are in essence telling the store manager. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. slightly more sinister. street address. The computer knows what every item is. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. Every item in the store carries a product code. (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. REGISTRATION. children's age. CLUB MEMBER CODE. etc.will pay any cost for a particular item. etc. you can see it below the barcode on the package. Guess what product that code 63 . If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). You tell them your name. 2. in infinite detail. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package. The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. you're not too far off the mark. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. PRODUCT CODE. As a club member. 3. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. Welcome to the Maze. You need to join them. let's look at how this happens: 1. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. you have to fill out a registration form. marital status. too. Now.
this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again.represents? It's YOU. but prefer the name brand variety. in a word.1 bottles per month. does it? No. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit. In fact. no. and sold it for years. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. The computer knows who you are. 4. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. packaged it. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1. They can save a year or more of expensive research time. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster. and what you buy. Scary stuff. the top 1/10th of that 64 . shipped it.4 bottle level dropped to 0. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. NO. where you live. Why would they do this to you. They've picked it.6 that month. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. SHARED DATA. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually. The information saves them time. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. The ultimate solution being.
but she's doing alright.3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. not just the wealthiest households. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make. let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. You're part of a larger consumer group. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive. So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home. Betty doesn't make a huge income. Based on sheer numbers. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash. After all. if only she would try them. 5. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods. So the kids are happy. because she's buying 4. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes. To see how this works.pyramid is the affluent markets. but the big family-size boxes.) These values can help Betty really save some cash. ZERO 65 . they can use the same technique to influence the 15. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk.
BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and
diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons
of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.
The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. even if you only shop there once or twice a year. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain. But in my book. so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. they are in essence telling the store manager. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one. getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. 69 . Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. you "don't have time" to save money. thank you. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. and they will continue to do it in the future. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. every day. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price. the bargains are well worth it. for every item in the store. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget.
BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. You'll get more offers and better values over time. HDTV sets. Box.O. The sooner you start the process. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. cell phones and other high-ticket items. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels. you'll get the card immediately. 70 . The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. If you learn how to play their game. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon. or a P. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. Of course. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. not just the wealthiest households. get a card at the grocery store in that area. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. But coupons are coming your way. the more interest you will attract from food marketers.
The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. people are definitely creatures of habit. toupee wax. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. etc. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. even if you don't normally shop there. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. when they're 71 .800 a year. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo. What is a rebate club? Simply put. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. it's the seniors. Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. My record on free items is $62 in one month. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. It's not always true. These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. When it comes to pharmacies. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. this one technique alone could save you over $1. just to pick up their rebate club flyer. If you visit 3 stores a month. hair coloring. hard-working youth of America. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs.
00 or $3. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates. REVIEW THE OFFERS.) 3.00 rebate on a $2. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets. CHECK THE OFFER DATES. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate.e. In other words.99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month. 2. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates. $2. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else.00 off the purchase price of the item. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book. Apparently. Be sure to process your . but they don't want people buying it just because of that.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate. but it's really more trouble than it's worth. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors. You have to check these carefully. 72 4. Others will be $1. it's really free.00.99 rebate for buying it.99 item. In most drug stores. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER. but they only tell you this in the fine print. because some manufacturers will offer a $3. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1. i. a $7. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month. They're trying to encourage repeat visits.
How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. you'll have proof of mailing it in. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. READ THE REQUIREMENTS. but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. The retailers call this "breakage". Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. if you haven't gotten your rebate. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. or they will refuse it. For most clubs. After a few months. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. Read the fine print. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. 6. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. What you DON'T want to do is say. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. 7. 5. I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. which is the next critical point. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope. Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. exactly the way they say it. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it.
I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. Using my photocopies. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. CASH SECOND. 9. It may seem trivial. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. Plus. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. and you can't turn it in for cash. rather than have them issue you a check. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. This may seem like a lot of work. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . use it first when making purchases at the store.within the proper timeframe. then pay any remaining balance with cash. USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. it's good money management. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it. Plus. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. 8. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. Proving this would be difficult. So always use the credit before using real cash.
good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. I found a $2. if you do it right. then. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items.days while your rebate form is being processed. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. that may be a little bit exaggerated. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. So I could easily get a total of $8. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already.) 75 . I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card.00 off. Then. If you are really cash-strapped." In checking the other coupons. Alarms will go off. Sorry – there is no way around this one. Well. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it. In most grocery stores. Why is it. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret. The headline read. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. You only have to do this once. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. and $1. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption. however: • No Doubling.00 off coupons on several others.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo. The Most Amazing. (No big deal here.00 store coupon issued by the retailer. when the rebate check arrives.
the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 . Saving $8.00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world. If you visit 3 stores a month. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1.800 a year. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. this one technique alone could save you over $1. When the drug store puts out savings like this. All that said.• No Price Reductions.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. however. at the same time. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. even if you don't normally shop there.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume.
The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. Okay.) There may be a date limit to your purchase. 1. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example. cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed. circling each of the ten on the receipt. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. assume that their 77 . In this case. read it. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. so this one is obvious. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. Also. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice.50 per item purchased. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify. 2. READ THE FINE PRINT. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum.
89 $3.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.59 Baking Mix $3. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands.99 $1.78 Quantity 2 ($0.09 $1.00 (qty. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO.30) $0. To get the maximum value for your effort.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer.50 $0. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1.59 Croissants in a Tube $1.89 $2.80 (40¢ coupon) $0. but they're not shown in the photo.70 (35¢ coupon) $0.09 $3.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.00) .49 $2.50 $0. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time. In one example. b.00 per can.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.50 - $2.50 $0. yogurt drinks.99 $1.39 $1. Here's why: a.00 (50¢ coupon) $0.39 $1.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo. c. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3.08 $3.50 $0.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $1. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places.89 Can Green Beans $1.30 ($5. they're also on sale quite frequently. 2) $0.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.10 (55¢ coupon) $0.01) $0.30) $0.50 $0.50 $1.59 $0. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes.50 $0.00 ($13.49 $19. kids' fruit snacks. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer.39 $0.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2.99 FINAL COST $24. The soup line is already heavily couponed.78 $0. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible. canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products.29 ($0.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1.39 $11. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer.09 $2. 3.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8.
It doesn't sound like much. But if you DO make the effort. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort. the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate. but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. due to all of the paperwork you have to complete. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck. you can save an extra $10. $20 or $30 a month on groceries.As you can see. 79 .
Your home budget has a MARGIN as well. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day. For an example. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. dairy products. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin. etc. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month.500 per year after taxes. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items). Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. 81 . Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives.43 per day on meals. – items they use each and every day. if they are to remain viable and profitable. spices. We're talking about flour. and 'brown bags' their lunches. they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store. or a total of $21.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. let's look at a fictitious family. The Jones family earns a salary of $36. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant. This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day.
cancel their insurance. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. At a restaurant. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. the business will fail. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible. the family must do without new clothing. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. Often. 82 . If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill. reduce or eliminate their savings. or reduce in one of the other areas.43 per day. month after month. month after month. If the restaurant doesn't show a profit. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. the owner doesn't get a paycheck. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. At the Jones household. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially.
and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. and put a plan in place. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item. If you want to change your diet. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. get some professional advice. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. while paying less for them. you know. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. and/or kids in school. that's fine. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. I'm not a doctor. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. some eggs. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. a social life. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here. That's all. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. Many writers have covered that territory. The big jar typically contains twice as much. household supplies and personal care items. They are: • BUY BIG. Get larger sizes of items. but only costs about 40% to 50% more. Mom needs a break too. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. go see your doctor. let's leave it at that. 83 . but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat.
A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. Buy the core ingredients of recipes. But it's not the best you can do price-wise. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. pork. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. etc. if it's available now at half the cost or below. Grits. plus chopped broccoli. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients. Bulgar Wheat.00 to $6. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. stock up & save. As long as you will eventually consume the item. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. beef. rice and sauce. Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. Again. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. even if you won't need them for six months or a year. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. 84 . There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb. Currently. Stock up when items are on sale. • BUY BASIC.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS.00. Sweet Potatoes. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken.
cooked and frozen a long time ago. cooked broccoli . The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality. 85 . chopped . because it was chopped. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy. It's sustenance. because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen. either.The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: . and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them.Two or three cups of cooked rice .One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well. sliced . But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience.1/4 cup of soy sauce . am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people. it's an okay meal. doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan.One or two garlic cloves.Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. So overall. but nothing to rave about. except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like. and that's what dinnertime is all about. But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal.Various spices in minute amounts . . savoring the taste. The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. cook on low for about 10 minutes.One or two cooked carrots. In some cases. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher. isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food. And. Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. and they're not idiots. had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot.Two or three cups of chopped. the garlic isn't really zingy. and it's ready to serve.
and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. 86 . the more you will lower your cost of food. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. If you are cooking for one. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. so they'll be on hand when you need them. or the items you buy are very perishable. the lower the cost per serving. many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. Is it bad stuff? Well. Just remember this: in most cases. and you have a coupon for them. or you eat like a church mouse. WHICH you wouldn't ever do. many. resulting in better quality for less money. the bigger the package. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. But for everyone / everything else. you can reduce your total cost of food. And in many cases.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. IF you were starting from scratch. and they can save you a lot of time. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. it's made of bread and spices. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. For example. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. buying small makes sense.
grab it.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. If it's a non-perishable item. but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. the more you will lower your cost of food. grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use. You'll be investing a little cash now. 87 .
they're tremendous in a million different ways. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant.001 things with a potato. and delicious. very simple. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. Of course. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. there are exceptions to every rule. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. A few minor enhancements can do wonders. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes.Chapter 14: Real Food. You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. Granted. Cook it until tender. simple. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. Cook them. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta. It's hard to top perfection. whip them. With the majority of foods. Example: a tomato. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. Don't get me started. It rarely needs any improvement. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. sauté them – you can do a 1. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. Yes. and it's wonderful on the palate. fry them. 89 . Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. Example: a potato. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base. of course.
TACOS. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals.) 2. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. I have to use premade mixes. (And by the way. 90 . And yes. Poke holes in it with a fork. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.Okay. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. I want to change the way you think about cooking. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. if you approach it correctly. sour cream or plain yogurt. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. too. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. Wash it off. and the end results are always perfect. Take a potato. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. Serve with salsa. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. BAKED POTATO. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. bacon bits. I don't have time to cook". PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. To make my point. Shake some sea salt on the outside. etc. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. In reality. you have a valid point. Take a taco shell out of the package. let alone crack open the recipe book. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money. butter or butter substitute. THIS IS BRAINWASHING.
put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. If you're constantly stretched for time.3. maybe some squash and carrots. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top. and it's very tasty. RICE WITH VEGGIES.grocerysavings. 4. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. drain. elbow. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements. it will be good as new. toss in the noodles. You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. RAMEN NOODLES. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. but you only have to stir them once in a while. add some pepper and salt. and you've got a quick cheesy meal. and they're ready in 3 minutes.us. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. Feel free to share your favorites with friends. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. put into a bowl. Sure. The secret to innovative. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there. (For convenience. and add that. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. As I mentioned above. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp. whatever. Not too exciting. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners. and heat on low for 5 minutes. so it's very cheap as well. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. When they're done. To top it. chop up a tomato. You know what these are. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. Toss them into the finished soup. 91 . cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. So vary your enhancements.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. bowties. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. 5. add a little water. It's fast.
It's hard to top perfection. healthier food every day. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners.experiment. BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. If you start building a list of quick. you can cut your food costs in half. you'll be saving LOTS of money. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. too. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys. 92 . Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. and you'll eat better. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. if you approach it correctly. If it is. Plus. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore. try new things. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest.
If they're still too hard at 10 minutes. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. and many just about do all the work for you. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients. easy to remember. cook 'em a few minutes more. (HINT: boil a pot of water. two cups of water. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. This doesn't have to be expensive. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. 93 . So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. nutritious dinner.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. One cup of rice. Easy. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. the rest is a cakewalk. Set your timer to 10 minutes. the local pharmacy sells appliances now. the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy. If you're cooking-challenged. Once you've got your own system down. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. Heck. Stir it once in a while. • If you can learn to make rice. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen.
kids just love rice. so there's not a lot of clean-up. and they'll love you back all the more. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . It's our job to keep the family happy. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. Peel an onion. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly. and save. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. Now. Plus. The same thing goes for carrots. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. press the "chop" button. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. And the bowl. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. scallions. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. You dump your ingredients in. garlic. water and salt / pepper in the pot. plug it in. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get. PRESSURE COOKER. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. these scare the daylights out of most people. You don't need to watch it.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. Plus. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). stir it or tend to it in any way. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. It’s the ideal cooking helper. But hey. squash – basically any hard vegetable. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes. cool for 30 minutes. Buy a huge bag. vegetables. For some reason. and your meat will fall off the fork. RICE COOKER.
The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. cauliflower. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. turn up the heat. Now. They'll be fully-cooked. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. Close the pressure cooker. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate. and your veggies are ready to serve.) Get over the fear. Yes. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget. it's a nutritional crime. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. Yes. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. Mix up some tempura batter. Plus. I like to remove them. cool the cooker immediately with cold water. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli. But admit your vice and face your fears. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. Add 3/4 cup water. It's really a great appliance. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu. tender and ready-to-eat. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. try this. DEEP FRYER. top with bread crumbs. 95 .you've ever had.
You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. hearty breakfast or side dish. 96 . it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes.you've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe. The #1 use. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so.) Grate an onion as well. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. Oil your griddle lightly. Plus. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well. The result is a flavorful. of course. One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. is to make pancakes. This appliance is indispensable in my household. and you don’t skin your knuckles. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier.
and the way you prepare your meals. see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. heat the glop and dish it up. . didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time. . .There's no time to cook.My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation. You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff. Now. I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal. Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: . the recipes you use (or don't use). consider the alternative answers. and you 97 . – I'm too busy to shop. Plus. – There's no time to cook. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef. Then.I hate to cook. Again. The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. add the glop. you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal. Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy.Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. For everyone else.I'm too busy to shop.
What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time.can save time. You might be surprised on this one. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. because it's all that they know. They eat what they're given. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. To avoid cooking. – I hate to cook. – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. I call this QUICK COOKING. in the interest of saving time. you CAN learn to cook quick fast. It will make your meals extra special. enjoy better meals. and lower your food costs. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. though. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. simple meals that your family will love. add a few pennies worth of spices. in this case). even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. because it's what they've always eaten. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. with almost no additional 98 . But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. they don't expect anything better. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. and enjoy it a whole lot more. Take it one step at a time.
most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme. turn on the stove. poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. Tomatoes . cheese. frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. delicious recipes. Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. and how you're doing it. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 .canned Fresh broccoli. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. rip open a bag.large drum. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan.dry Potatoes .fresh potato wedges.investment of your time. You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can. you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them. For the sake of this discussion. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting. The chef (or food manager. any fresh vegetable Boneless. it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. frozen or tube biscuit dough. skinless chicken breasts Pasta .uncooked Oatmeal . carrots. etc. With just a few minutes of planning. pull out a pan. in the case of packaged foods). Okay. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats. etc. beans. dry potato flakes. whatever you choose to cook. a vegan or a Venutian.
store. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. Determine what you have to work with first (i. c. what's cheapest / freshest). BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. b. even if 100 . To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces. having them accessible. BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. The best way for YOU to cook. The way you buy these items. (more about this later). Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. let's look at: a. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it.e. and you will save tremendous amounts of money. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. The way you plan your menus.
with almost no additional investment of your time. simple meals that your family will love. you CAN learn to quick fast. 101 .you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult.e. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. Determine what you have to work with first (i. BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. what's cheapest / freshest).
because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. tonight's special will be flounder. Surely. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. But that doesn't mean people will pay. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. How to Cook Delicious. Think of your own dining experiences. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. Nature came up with a very easy 103 . and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. or the wholesale meat market. You may wonder why the chefs use this method. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. If shrimp is on sale. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. technically they can. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. the fresh seafood market. When an item is in abundance. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals. It may be the farmer's market. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. tonight's special will be shrimp.
e.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. beef. cover and heat. lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form). i. saffron or other spices. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. then add your other ingredients. try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. Add a splash of teriyaki.recipe for rice: 1 part rice. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing. just add a little water. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. Worcestershire sauce. straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. For fried rice. Microwave for about 3 minutes. For egg fu yung. in a matter of minutes. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. chicken bouillon. if you like it richer. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals. Sounds pretty easy. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave. sashimi (imitation crab). nothing could be simpler. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. To reheat. If your meals are more infrequent. Recipes. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. 2 parts water. See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. soy sauce. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. Let it steam for a few minutes. Try it. For families on the go. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. and vegetables. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week. 2 parts water (or milk. 104 .
Then. mashed. Add a little cheese. etc.. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. Recipes: Again. Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. If you're careful about what you put on them. The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. full of fiber. etc. hot sauce. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today. store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. Again. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. These additives have 105 . Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast. Or. Add cheese. to make a tasty meal. You can boil. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. most nutritious foods in the grocery store. for variety. they can be a healthy choice too. chopped scallions.. They'll only keep for a few days. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course. Dinner: Serve them baked. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. bag. bacon bits. of course…). sour cream. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. They're fat free. and they learned many different recipes to add variety. cooked broccoli. bake. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. etc. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal.00 or $2. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. so only cook what you can use fairly soon. and tasty.50 for a 5-lb. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top. Here are a few ideas.
You're eliminating all of the additives. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil. Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. Yes. The Irish knew this centuries ago. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). and many ethnic foods from around the world. fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety. more food volume. But for busy people they can be an excellent. In the summer. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . vegetarian cooking. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast.almost no fat or calories. Plus. In the south. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. and you'll probably pay less. cover with plastic wrap.than the jars of sauce. and your family will begin to eat healthier. tastiest items you can buy in a store. strap a rubber band around the dish. and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest. beets. potatoes. and enjoy meals more. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. carrots. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. heart disease. and other serious diseases. add a little water. the more taste it will have. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base. Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 . unique taste and nutrients. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. the lighter the seasoning the better. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. buy them. put the dish in a microwave. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. feel better. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. fast cook as described above. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish.
but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish.Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. .Put into a big pot. If you're a bacon lover. buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. nuke them in a small dish with a little water.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper. Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast. Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with. While most of their spices are about 95% salt. especially when they're 3/$1. You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. with some water and simple spices. you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes). (Yes. try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. If you don't like this. Of course. Normally.Wash / peel / chop the veggies. you can always use regular butter or margarine. Okay. they're only 99¢ at the drug store. . the bacon bits are a bargain. • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes. This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. as appropriate. but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). 108 . as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles. back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them.Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth.• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. The recipe is extremely simple: . try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1. . .
sour cream. The best time to do this is before you cook the food. To reheat. • For a little European flair. Also. but if you have cubed beef. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo. or freezing some for later. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). SLOWLY add 109 . consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3.) • For meat dishes. pork or lamb. margarine. and in most cases that is all you'll find available. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. you can buy full-price fresh veggies. A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft. etc. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish. To thicken.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker. • For a cream sauce. add a little milk. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months. If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢.. Of course. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix.) .Serve and enjoy. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes. If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. then add some flour and spices to form a paste. add some white or red wine to the dish.
or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce). rather than buying pre-grated cheese. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1. • To stretch your soup / stew. You can also make a paste out of flour. salt and a little baking powder. just prior to serving. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination. • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. and excite your family's taste buds. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. if 110 . water. 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible.99 or more – literally double the price! Granted. Often.00. and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process.
Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk. Sure. My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. Swiss. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. Yes. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. using a food processor with a grater blade. so get the bargains whenever you can.79. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. Cheddar or Mozzarella. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds.you don't have a food processor at home.00 each. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality. and you can really save. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2. Colby. Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping. you can grate Monterrey Jack. all pork comes from a pig. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. you can buy them while they are on sale. That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. As long as you have a method of storing these items. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. Then. Prices these days can change from week to week.
it takes time. 112 . It's messy.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. thigh sections. or a few pennies worth of seasoning.into excellent. It's all in the cooking process. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. the higher the price you pay. the less you will pay. with all drumsticks. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later. It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed. but this is simply not practical for many people. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. Often. etc. From lowest to highest price. flavorful. if you're willing to rebag them.Skin on Boneless Breasts . just look at the cost per pound of each variety. enjoyable meals. all bonein breast sections. Boneless Breasts . all wings. etc. breasts with wings attached. The higher up this chain you buy. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale. But the difference in cost can be significant. and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. the lower down the chain you buy. Bone-in Chicken Sections. What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. including drumsticks. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes.Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. Or.
For example. If you don't have a pressure cooker. I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. which you like. and it will please a huge. Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. I add some carrots. just buy what you prefer. potatoes that I have cooked separately. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. and bake for about 15 minutes. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. the slower it needs to be cooked. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. hungry crowd. it comes with your pressure cooker. onions. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. celery.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. Beef There are many different cuts of beef. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. 3. onions. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. Replace the roast. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. 2. With a pressure cooker. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . carrots. and surround with cleaned. and look for the best value you can. etc. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. salt and shortening). so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven.
And if you don't drain away all the fat. Add about 2 cups of water. so there's no need to worry about your health. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. 5. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. but leave the cooker on the burner. If you can't wait. 8. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. let the pressure go down naturally. If you can. I like to add chopped garlic. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. If you want to serve your family hot. 7. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. The longer you let the pot sit. Regarding chopped or ground beef. Turn the heat off. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately. or cut up some fresh tomatoes. drain it well after cooking. and it will always come out great. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. 4. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. which will be very evident when you cook it.like a red sauce. This way it will tenderize better. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. salt and pepper. use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. the more tender your beef will be. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. 6. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef.
the core element is one or more vegetables. potatoes. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. the secondary element is rice. the core element is chicken. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. you can make a better sauce 115 . That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. pork or lamb. if you're serving single portions. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. beef. MARINARA SAUCE. and the variable element is the sauce or spices. potatoes or other vegetables. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. etc. Then. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. the secondary element is rice or other grains. healthy and flavorful meals. For meat-eaters. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it.). rice. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. As mentioned earlier. If you are typically stressed for time. you can keep your food costs low. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients. meats. Variety is the spice of life. noodles. Or. Once you've mastered these sauces. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. Here are some very simple. For vegetarians. With a little resourcefulness.the higher-priced cuts. You could buy pre-made sauces. If you family is bored with the food you cook.
you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. and when they're almost done. fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE. Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. but margarine will do). MUSHROOM SAUCE. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. stirring occasionally. start with a small carton of heavy cream. this will work every time. Top with grated cheese. Top with chopped chives for color. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. If your family likes mushrooms. you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. If you like. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. When they are transparent but not browned. CREAM SAUCE. I find that kids like it better without any spices). and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. start on your sauce. but if your goal is to impress. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. When the butter 116 . and you've got a great presentation. This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. Yes. If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. but it does take extra time…). purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. To make a delicious marinara sauce. Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally. stirring constantly. then serve over cooked pasta. Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. For example. if available).
a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. Simply add some parsley. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. Pecorino. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown). 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. remove the seeds. and pour it over your noodles. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. stir and store. YOGURT SAUCE. PESTO. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. Top with grated hard cheese. immediately take it off the stove. I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil).) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. SOUR CREAM SAUCE. Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. etc. Parmesan. or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. stews and other recipes. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients.starts to burn. Heat through. This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. ideal for special occasions. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. LEMON JUICE. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. Reduce heat to low. For variety. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. but do not boil. 1 tsp. stirring constantly.
Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. it will require stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste. ground red pepper. Top with grated cheese. on medium heat. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. ground cardamom. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. Cook for 10 min. stirring constantly. typically found in health-food stores. and add salt & pepper to taste.) Serve over barbecued. then reheat prior to serving. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. 2 tsp. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. Fry until wilted and pale brown. 3 tsp. but it's much better in the long run. is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. 1 tsp. they serve it over chicken and lamb. Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. stirring constantly. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated. chopped fresh ginger.) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. but that takes extra work) over medium heat. vegetables or any core item combination. Stir in a half cup white wine. stirring constantly. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. This sauce is a bit exotic. ground coriander. served as a dipping sauce. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. Cook for 5 minutes. 2 tsp. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. Slice 1 lb. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended.that is sure to impress. minced very fine. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. from India). 1 tsp. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. but once you get a craving for it. broiled or 118 . Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. In a clutch. ground fennel. In India.
1 tsp. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. Add 1 tsp. minced ginger root and 2 tbl. Start with 3 tbl. Soy sauce. (optional. use the oil only and not the peppers.fried chicken. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. Sesame oil and 1 tsp. 1 tbl. HOT CHILI SAUCE. Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. vegetable. 3 tbl. mix 3/4 cup ketchup. canola or any cooking oil you prefer). or your choice of core ingredient. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. sugar. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. When using. salt & pepper to taste. a half tsp. If you like things on the hot side. most people prefer no MSG). Blend the tastes. Mix until blended. olive oil and beat 119 . Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. of sugar. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. To make hot oil. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. pepper and garlic powder to taste. Worcestershire sauce). then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. hot chili paste. or more hot oil (see below). Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. then salt. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. Soy sauce. half tsp. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes. Add chopped garlic. sugar. mix 1 tsp. if desired. If you are cheap like me. In a small cup. finely-chopped ginger. ginger. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. 1 tbl. a hlaf tsp. warm water. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. They work great. 1 tbs. plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. In a small jar.
Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. a dash of hot pepper sauce. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. Whisk until blended. minced parsley. In a small saucepan. This is also a Cajun recipe. Add to your list of sauces. Blend in 2 tsp. As you can see. dry white wine. 3 tsp. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. prepared horseradish. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. 1 tsp. chopped green onions. 2 tsp. 1 tblsp. beating after each ingredient. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. Add 1 tsp. 1/4 tsp. Add 3 tsp. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. In a small cup. nothing beats a complex cream sauce. These are but a few of the many. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. dried oregano and dried thyme. ideal over seafood.vigorously. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. each of cayenne pepper. salt. Add 1 tsp. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. Louisiana hot sauce. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. lemon juice. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. ketchup. and cooks very quickly. MEUNIERE SAUCE. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. 120 . Add salt if desired. 3 tbsp. and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. Bring to a simmer. 1 tsp. For sheer elegance. Simmer until thickened.
If your family is bored with the food you cook. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. so get the bargains whenever you can. The higher up this chain that you buy. the less you will pay. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. The Irish knew this centuries ago. Often. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. you need to buy them while they are on sale. the lower down the chain that you buy. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. as long as you have a method of storing these items. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. Prices these days can change from week to week. and excite your family's taste buds. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. the higher the price you will pay. But the difference in cost can be significant. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. more food volume.
122 .).can make meals new & exciting again. you can keep your food costs low. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. etc. noodles. potatoes.
and serve in a glass with ice. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon. • Kids love slushees. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. • Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. 123 . Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory. but it can also be very expensive. but they cost $1. buy the quart.00 or more at the burger joints. liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. You can make them at home using a blender. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. $2. And in many cases. or if you just don't like them. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive.50. and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh. We use the sugar-free varieties. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. Choose the storebrand. because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. some ice. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house.
124 . than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. fill it with your food. With one of these machines. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself. but lower your total food bill. if it’s an item you buy every month. If you are super-diligent about this. Plus. The net result: one 5 lb. you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. If you want to implement portion control. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. they cost about half as much. Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. You'll accomplish the same goal. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. melt one edge to seal it in the machine. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. here’s the advantage. by weight. Now. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. you cut off a section of pouch material. • If you give your kids snacks for school. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. purchase can last for a full month. Does it make a difference? Well. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. You know.
or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself. rubbing alcohol.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4. the need to clean. buy the big container and use a coupon. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper. etc.. oven cleaner. So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. baking soda. • Shop at the dollar stores. etc.. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of. this stuff won't go bad. dishwasher soap. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood.. For example. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is. It should make you feel smarter. This same type of product. many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know. ammonia. can be made out of a combination of water. bathroom cleaner. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil. vinegar. Many of these items such as window-washing solution. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice.. and by buying big you won't be running out as often. etc.
There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities. And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. Helping to provide a 126 . And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. The program costs you nothing extra. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. With this program. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. When you see bargains like this. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well. Our furry friends need help. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them.
what's the point? Life is too short. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality. Of course. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area. 127 . and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. you're not using the system correctly. If you follow the methods outlined in this book. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. Rather than sacrifice quality. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. It will be more enjoyable in the long run.
or if you are especially resourceful. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. You can use plastic bags. Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use. 128 . and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it. consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself. BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill.BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings.
How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it.) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list. This way. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account.the coupon: 1.” I discovered something surprising about this. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. (techie note only. I tend to be cynical. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes. but it sure appeared to me that the food . I thought it was an error. but you currently use a competing brand. How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. So when you encounter these 'surveys'. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. so I logged out and logged back in again. How do I know this? Recently. ignore this if you find it confusing. Just to see what would happen. It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer.
Here are some coupon sites to visit. magazines.29 minus $0. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store.com. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”. so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 . Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1.25 ($1.29 per box $0. CoolSavings. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance. On a recent visit.29 total for 2 boxes) $0.65 ($1. medicine. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling sites. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer. etc.com. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose. Eversave.80 for 2 boxes) Of course. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers. They even put the coupons in the same position on each page.
95 annual fee however. Thecouponclippers. plus a 50¢ administration fee.com. But overall. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date. This site requires that you pay a $7. This site offers pre-clipped coupons.com. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates. you don’t pay an annual fee. On this site. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. Plus.com. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail..50 fee to join. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons. but you do pay for each coupon. personal and cleaning products and more. the Baltimore Sun. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. and you get to choose by specific brand names. you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons. CentsOff. this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points. gourmet food items.com. This site is well organized.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return mail.OnlineCoupons. it displays the specific coupons available by category. you can stock up on the specific coupon. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢. This site requires you to register with minimal information. Plus. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item. then pay an additional $8.A. There is a $99. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee. Here. Coupons. so you will be directed here from many other sites. etc. The drawback is that you have to pay to save. you can plan your savings over time. up until the expiration date of the coupon.com. Times. You can order multiples of the same coupon.
com. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining. however.com. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. As posted on their site. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons. and see what you think. This is the author’s web site. rebates and regional offers posted here. shopping. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. The food industry giants monitor this site. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies.Troop or church social group. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching." GroceryDiscounts. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. Thefrugalshopper. MyClipper. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good.us. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries. entertainment. It's like having 230. so I really can’t toot my own horn. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term. Plus.000 friends to ask advice from. There are no grocery coupons on this site. etc. 133 . Plus. many leading to the sites listed above. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here. This site uses a double opt-in validation process.com for grocery discounts.S. The site simply links to EverSave. We offer many links to the best savings of the week. But visit it. too! Fatwallet. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge.com. value and guidance. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price.
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping.Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat. you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. 134 . Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting. and make a new friend. Plus. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques. BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. and share your successes with other value-minded individuals. Chances are. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. Knowledge = cash savings for you.
but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well. It was Honore De Balzac who said. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. you might only be spending a little more time than you do already. People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. Shelf Surfing. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time. As it often goes with Murphy's Law. and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass. one way or another. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. Cart Courtesy. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness". two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. be aware of where you left your cart.Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. Okay. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. they're 135 . is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. Similarly. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. So if you see someone lurking nearby. When you're not moving.
So make your choice and move on. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars. she’s there to help you. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered. So give her a break. as will your cashier. you can accept your error. try. trying to make it through their shift. If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. 136 . Instead of. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. And. Plus. Plus. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. They’re just people. if you’re wrong. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off. as well. and simply walk away from the service counter. apologize. like you and me. So give them a break. Cashier Courtesy. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries. If you have a discrepancy on a price.probably waiting for you to move... they’ll never let you live it down. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. Plus. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative.
137 .Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register. Instead. it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier. You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer. walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid.
This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill. you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. you can purchase this same item for $3. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World. Let’s say. for example. The bad news is. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book. In other words. regular price $7. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices.99. many 139 . so they don't have to search for the price. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”.
I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W. You're in a huge rush at 4 p. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz.m. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store. And honestly. Most of the time. "Acme Grocery". In time. when you need those three or four items.stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value. You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. i. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. Speed Shopping. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. 140 . I locate the sale items. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store. when you're reading the Sunday paper.e. I may find only three or four coupons. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a.m. I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips. they don't know any other way. you will save money on food. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. All this is great. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. Now. It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day. Make Saving a Habit.
you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. it's nothing like that. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs.Never Settle for Poor Quality. If you like gourmet cooking. Turn this to your advantage. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. taste horrible. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. (Is that unethical. parsley. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. Try it. CRAZY??? No. he spit it out. If you have a patio or deck. actually. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. Start a Soup Night. If it's defective. Okay. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. thyme. So it was well worth my time to complain. return it to the store for a new one. Once in a blue moon. If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. or just not be usable. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. nothing is better than fresh basil. etc. and they all spit it out. to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. I recently bought a juice item for my kids. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 . write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so.00 off coupons for their other products. or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway. cilantro.
you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. By learning how to prepare these items quickly. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. get your money back or get a replacement. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. It makes a terrific dinner. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. If they're defective. you will habitually save on food. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well.for ﬁ the price or less. BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. 142 . using your breadmaker. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals.
Closing Notes Well. May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. and your piggybanks remain full! 143 . You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. You can shop quickly and efficiently. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general. regardless of how time-challenged you are. Good shopping to you all. there you have it. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process. You don't have to settle for second best.
Cash register tape DCRT. These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper.coupon dispensed at register after purchase.Name.Buy one get one free Catalina . zip code NB .instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product. as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns . address.cents off coupon Codes .Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT. Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons.National Brand NBQ .Dated cash register tape DCRTC .Manufacturer Money + . HBA . usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 .The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .Hope this helps ISO .Manufacturer MFR .Limited.Free Standing inserts.In search of LTD .Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND .GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon .Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH .Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund .National Brand Qualifier 144 .manufacturer's coupons CRT .A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI . usually has a red border C/O .
specially marked packages SS .) 145 .sweepstakes form Tear pad .net weight OAS .A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF .a coupon that is good on one purchase.No expiration date Nfp . etc) SWEEPS . any size OSI .Store form SMP .Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles .Universal Product Code WSL .a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.NED .Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable.while supplies last YMMV .Random act of kindness SF . a $1 coupon = $2.refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .On a single item POP .proof of purchase PP .The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .Try Me Free Triple coupon .purchase price PPHF .Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.
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Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week.40% .000 per year. retailers and financial institutions. If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs. Discover the system that can save you 30% .THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON. That’s at least $1. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team. this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives.000 to $5. You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game. Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING. FKB Group PLC. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis. You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. and Allied Graphic Arts. You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE. . and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES. within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers.even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS.
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